Pairing The Pear
Artists love pears. They are figurative, and like the figure, come in many colors and shapes. They also stay ripe for quite a long time, which is the best part: you can use them in a still life to paint, and then eat them.
Those of you who follow my Flickr photos know that I have been receiving lots of pears through my shared Full Circle Farm Subscription. Early in the fall pear season it was the Bartlett, which is great for baking. More recently it is the versatile Anjou.
If left to ripen, Anjous are meltingly soft and sweet. But I had so many ripening in my fruit bowl that were almost to the point of eating. This forced me to be quick and creative. My first choice was a savory tart, but of course I recently posted a tart recipe! I will save my Savory Pear and Cheese Tart for next fall’s crop.
I used the only currently available edible in my garden: rosemary. Pairing these two flavors produced the most unexpected and delicious flavor combination. One part pungent and aromatic, the other sweet and floral, it is just heavenly. Don’t be afraid of all the rosemary in this recipe: it’s fantastic! I served this with roasted room temperature root vegetables on a bed of peppery arugula, vinaigrette and shaved Parmesan. Mmmm. Try this pairing before the season ends in late spring.
The original was published in Bon Appetit years ago, and called for Bosc’s. I have not only used all varieties, but I’ve also made a few changes here and there and everywhere!
Caramelized Pears With Rosemary
5 large (7-8 small) pears peeled, cored, and cut into 8 wedges each. If using some of the softer varieties like the Anjou, use them while they are still firm but fragrant and not overly ripe.
2 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
2-4 Tblsp. butter
2 fresh sprigs of rosemary, one 6″ with leaves left on, one 2″ with leaves removed.
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
(Alongside kosher salt, I used a gift from a dear friend: truffle salt. The earthy truffle flavor used as the last seasoning adjustment below, was incredible with this dish).
• Preheat oven to 350º
• Spray or butter a baking pan and spread wedges in one layer.
• Bake 15-25 min, or until tender when pierced. Cool slightly.
• Rub with lemon juice to prevent browning.
• Chill overnight.
• In large saute or frying pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tblsp. butter.
• Add pears, the 6″ full rosemary sprig, and salt to taste.
• Cook until pears are brown and caramelized. (I did this in two batches to ensure my pears
wouldn’t be too crowded and steam. This uses more butter.)
• Stir in pepper to taste and remove rosemary sprig. Adjust salt to taste. (I added a sprinkle of truffle salt as a finishing salt, and used kosher salt above in the initial seasoning step).
• Serve at room temperature, garnished with the fresh rosemary leaves from the 2″ sprig.
Note: I know you all think that’s crazy: eating raw rosemary as garnish, but it really is delicious!